A couple months ago I posted on the possibility that Manning being a Free Agent and if the 49ers should go for him. http://www.ninersnation.com/2012/2/5/2773116/hypothetical-all-this-talk-of-manning-the-better-one
Now that the dust has cleared so to speak and Manning will have the choice of the litter. The question remains.
Should the 49ers make a play for Manning? As far fetched as that sounds. Manning with Harbaugh's QB minded strategy and the arsenal weapons at their disposal and the #1 defense in the league from last year. It boggles the mind of the of potential. However, it would require doing some shady and screwd business or would it?
Alex Smith, in my opinion, has earned a chance back next year based on improvement and potential on having a full off season to work with Harbaugh and staff. That is the fair thing to do. But the NFL isn't about being polite and fair (beyond conduct rules). If the goal is to win, and Peyton Manning is available and gives your team the best chance to win the superbowl next year, do you pull the trigger? The 49ers organization is NOT bound to Alex Smith, at least not technically. Alex Smith is a Unrestricted Free Agent. His one year contract is done. He has come forward and said he wants to be back next year. But do the 49ers want him back if they can land someone like Manning? The 49ers owe it to Alex Smith, but creating the best team to win isn't about what you owe to players. Its about putting the team first and building the best team to compete. Alex Smith grew last year, but there have been questions whether he can consistently deliver and make every throw from the deep ball to spreading the ball around. He has done everything the 49ers asked of him last year, but whether he ever develops into that top tier caliber QB in terms of numbers is a big IF. Manning spent all last year recovering, and people question his ability to play, much less finish a season and that he is a risk injury. Let say though, NO QB IN THE NFL IS A SURE THING when it comes to health because quite frankly any can be injured at any point in the season. Aaron Rodgers is the perfect example for that. The year they won the superbowl he was hit with a concussion and they won the superbowl. This year he was pretty much injury free. Alex Smith prior to this year spent time in and out with injuries.
Knowing the type of organization the 49ers are, this isn't even a remote possibility, they are too proud of an organization to backhand Alex Smith like that. But still on the 0.000001% chance it could happen, it doesn't hurt to talk about it. Larry Fitzgerald and others are looking at that possibility, Fitz even going so far to try and recruit Manning to come to Arizona to play. So that is the other side of the coin, if the 49ers don't act on it, a rival team could. Someone say like the Seahawks and/or Cardinals. Pair Manning with Fitzgerald seems like a thing you could only do in a Madden game but the reality of it is scary. If Manning teamed with Marshawn Lynch, Sidney Rice and a decent Defense it automatically makes them threatening contenders. So I will ask, if you were Trent Baalke, do you make a play for Manning if he is available and healthy? In doing so, that automatically makes Alex Smith gone since both share the same agent and im sure he wouldn't want to be a backup. If they got both of them that would be ideal but unlikely. Kaepernick would also feel slighted by that.
Should the 49ers make a play for Manning, assuming he is healthy? Can you see Manning in red, gold, and white and finishing his career as a 49er?